Once again injuries and work commitments hit the Legends hard as they were barely able to scrape up a team for a lovely early afternoon game. There were some quality players available, but it was a hard ask to hope that everyone could put in a consistent shift for an entire game against the usually physical and numerous Shamrocks. One pleasant surprise was Casanova arriving to give the Legends 2 whole subs, although given the other substitute was the volatile Tim Frazier that was still barely injury coverage.
CPR started against the wind which the opposition took full advantage of with their traditional long ball approach. Fortunately Belizan was mostly equal to the task, and Carducci had no issue playing sweeper keeper as the situation demanded. There were some expected issues with players playing out of position, but for the most part the Legends held up well, and should have gone into the lead early on when Mckeown had a glorious chance off a free kick only to boot it over the bar on the turn from 4 yards out. Soon after, Rosenbloom went down easily in the box much to the incandescent fury of the Shamrocks midfielder, but only a corner was given. It was one of those fouls that probably would have been given anywhere else on the pitch but was a bit too mild for a penalty, but the absurd reaction was unnecessary as even Shamrock acknowledged. The corner came to nothing, and then it was Shamrock’s turn to attack. Belizan was fooled by the wind and could easily have received a harsher sanction but instead the dangerously positioned free kick was lofted harmlessly high. Soon after, Shamrock opened their account on another counterattack with a cross from the left lobbed nicely over Carducci from the strong and always dangerous striker.
At this point the Legends frail framework cracked as Belizan limped off. With one of their best players and defenders out of commission, CPR had to scramble to fit players into unfamiliar roles. Shamrock soon capitalized to produce another and a seemingly insurmountable lead. At half time the Legends tried to focus on maintaining their shape and playing smart football, at least as much as they could. With a slow unfamiliar backline it was going to be a challenge against the hungry strikers and midfielders waiting for the ball launched over the top or diagonally. The one thing the Legends had going for them as that Shamrock possessed a similar Football IQ, so rather than patiently probing the weaknesses and using their freshness to attack tired CPR they all too frequently made the low percentage play. Their internal strife was not helped by a superbly taken goal from Sawyer, and all at once the undermanned Legends had the upper hand. With space opening up the Legends were able to push all the way into the final third, but the ball could never quite bounce their way, and their decision making was as erratic as usual.
Try as they might the Legends started succumbing to the fresher Shamrocks, and eventually by the rule of chance the squabbling Shamrocks made it count by finally converting a counterattack. CPR had a few more close shaves and chances of their own, but did not have enough in the tank, especially those that had played close to 90 minutes the previous week when similarly undermanned. One hopes that somehow the Legends will scrape up enough players to give a proper accounting of themselves in the coming weeks.
Competition: Shamrock SC Legends, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #90, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Gorgeous early afternoon spring day
Fans: 1 (Ms Tomassoli)
Result: 1:3 HT: 0-2
Goals: 1-2: Sawyer
Yellow Cards: I know this is going to be shocking to regular readers, but yes Tim Frazier received another booking for once again vastly overreacting to some physical play. At this point unless we have 11 or less, his position will have to be in goal where theatrical antics are more tolerated and forgiven by referees
Red Cards: None, fortunately
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Mike Dean was a last minute scratch with domestic issues, unfortunate as his versatility would have been a big help to the bare bones Legends
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Manuel Casanova, who turned from a non response/No to showing up and eventually getting on the field after his extensive warmup regimen.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Sadly with such a small squad available, the several time MVP Belizan was forced off early which required extensive rearrangement from the team, not to mention losing all speed at the back when dealing with counterattacks.
Old Man of the Match: Another hard-fought performance by many players, especially given the number of substitutes the opposition had to wear CPR down. Sawyer receives the honor this week, not just due to his superbly taken goal but also fighting a lonely battle against several defenders and often holding his own.
Old Man of the Bar: A seemingly mild afternoon drink session turned into an old school marathon with the help of the Oranges and the NCAA tournament. Tier 1, Venkataraman and Resnik.
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None
Statistic of the week: Resnik moved on to 99 Legends caps. It’s a shame his 100th is a 6pm Bronx game against Doxa that will limit post game festivities.
Team Bar Showing: 4 out of 13 (31%)
Team Bar Night: 4 out of 5. A seemingly high grade given there were only 2 Legends after an hour at the pub, but adjustments need to be made over time. 7+ hours is certainly a throwback session.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mike Carducci (GK), Steve Roberts (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Tim Frazier, Mark Resnik (DF), Danny Azzo (DF), Neil Stower, Manuel Casanova, David Sawyer, Enrico Tomassoli, Bevan Rosenbloom, Simon Mckeown